Tyseem Lyles is a 188cm guard from Brooklyn, New York that recently finished his second professional season and second with Eimsbuetteler TV Hamburg (Germany-Regionalliga) playing 20 games: averaging 25.8ppg, 6.5rpg, 4.4apg, Steals-3 (3.1spg), FGP: 48.7%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 75.8%. In his rookie season with Eimsbuetteler TV Hamburg (Germany-Regionalliga) he played 25 games: Score-averaging 24.3ppg, 6.6rpg, 3.8apg, 2.5spg, FGP: 46.7%, 3PT: 36.2%, FT: 79.1%. He began his basketball career at Tompkins Cortland Community College and in 2014-2015 moved to Mercy College (NCAA2) averaging 18.1ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.1apg, 2.4spg, FGP: 44.4%, 3PT: 41.4%, FT: 86.2%. In his last season at Mercy College (NCAA2) he played 28 games averaging 13.6ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.8apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 39.5%, 3PT: 30.1%, FT: 84.8%. He spoke to germanhoops.com during the coronavirus crisis.
Hi Tyseem where are you at the moment and how is your current mood despite the world turmoil at the moment because of the out break of the Corona Virus?
Hi, currently I am back home with my family in Brooklyn, New York and we are all doing well, thankfully. My mood is steadily set on being thankful because I am being able to spend so much time with my family. Moments I am experiencing right now with my family gets lost due to the fact that I am always away from them playing basketball straight from college until now. But oftentimes my mood switches to those who have lost someone they love, a job, or time from being sick with COVID 19. I look forward to powering through this situation by continuing to stay productive, visualizing my path and also continue to build up whomever I come across. So I think it is safe to say I am still motivated, especially since this is a great time to learn.
When you first heard about the Corona Virus did you ever think that it could have such an effect on the world?
When I first heard about the Corona Virus, I most definitely was among the people who thought this situation would not be where it is today. Only because the solutions to stop the spread seemed simple enough, which were, and still should be: washing your hands, showering, and covering your mouth with your arm when you have to cough or sneeze.
How did you experience the day to day life in Elmsbuettel when you were still in Germany? What things did you notice in the surroundings there that showed that life wasn’t normal?
The day-to-day life in Eimsbuettel was no different to my life than when I was working with kids throughout the 5 boroughs in New York as my day job while also working out before and after work: simply being productive. Whether I am at home or away, the focus never changes because I am on a mission to make my dreams come true. For me that means being in the weight room, the gym, meal prepping, getting extra shots in the gym whenever I can, recovery time and working at whatever job I have outside of basketball. So this is what my routine was like in Germany, but the difference in Germany is that I did not return home until after midnight every night – late nights and early mornings because the only time we had free gym space to shoot was after practice. I noticed quickly I was no longer in the states just by the architecture of the buildings and churches that resemble small castles.
Did you become more aware about how you handle yourself in public in terms of shaking hands and not being in the line of fire with somebody coughing
My parents always told and showed me the importance of practicing very good hygiene so they would not have to worry about me as I got older. The only thing that was new to me was remembering to avoid touching my face. Luckily, I haven’t ever been in the line of fire with someone coughing.
Basketball leagues have shut down all over Europe including the Pro A. How disappointed were you about this and not being able to finish the season?
At first, I was distraught that all of the basketball leagues had been shut down. I looked forward to earning the rest of those games so no one could say anything was given to us. Eventually, I accepted that we worked hard but, due to the circumstances, it became smart to now prepare for the future and not dwell on the things I can not control.
Before leagues were shut down there was a BCL game in Bonn against AEK Athens and a Fiba Europe Cup game in Bayreuth without spectators. What is your overall opinion of playing a game without fans?
I think that was very noble of those organizations to still give the fans a game before everything became even more problematic. Overall I think it was a cool idea because we all know the fans of the game make it even more exciting. As a player, of course I’d love to play a game including the fans but, if my only option was to play without them because of the situation, of course I will be okay with it. I am a competitor that wants to win so I will give it everything I have either way.
What have you learned about these tough times that has made you stronger as a person?
I do not like the term ‘tough times.’ I prefer ‘character-building moments’ only because, to me, one is associated with bad moments of your life you want to forget while the other is about embracing those moments since it is a moment for you to become a better version of you. But only if you are able to use these moments for you and not look at them as pieces moving against you. In these moments, I have learned how to develop patience with myself and others. I have also learned how to communicate in a more effective manner and, most importantly, I learned what it really means to when its you versus you. It was like flipping on a switch once it became clearer to me that I have been getting in my own way the entire time. These moments remind myself that nothing can break me.
How has the adjustment period been for you being back in the States. It seems like there are reports that not all are taking the Coronavirus as seriously. How have you seen this where your at now?
The adjustment period from Germany back to Brooklyn was very easy. I am mostly at home helping in every way that I can. My father is the only one in my household that has to go out because of work. So, from his perspective, the majority of people are taking the necessary steps to being a part of the solution. For example, folks wearing face and gloves in public and on public transportation. When I go to the store or anyplace nearby, I also see people outside and in stores with the same accessories.
Will it be a big adjustment having to start 3 months earlier with workouts and basketball skill development? What will be the advantages and disadvantages of this?
This sounds exciting to me to start 3 months earlier and I am so ready to take advantage of this time to get better. I am also making sure I am in shape so when time comes, I can hit the ground running instead of just easing into things. The advantage of this is more time to review old film and really pick apart the way you play. It is also a great time to study other players you like, and find out more about new and other players. The disadvantage to this is not knowing exactly when things will turn to normal, or what the new ‘normal’ will be. All of the summer plans you could’ve made to meet and network with other players to learn from may not happen. But I like to see the glass as half full, so I see a lot of opportunity right now.
The whole world economy is going to be affected including German basketball. How worried are you about the future of professional basketball. The next season will have many changes. How are you handling this mentally now not knowing what to expect?
I am not really worried. I know basketball will return eventually; it may not be with a lot of fans which makes the game a lot of fun, but for the safety of others, I am okay with those changes. I will just have to let things run its course. In the meantime, I am making sure I exercise daily, read, stretch and other things that can keep me on the path of going upward.
If you had to name another player besides guys from the Eimsbuettel that you have been in most contact via Social Media who would it be?
I know the question asked for one other player but three people come to mind because I have spent a lot of time with them in the gym, playing against them and playing on the same team with them: KhuVon Daniel, Isaiah Johnson, and Phil Carr – all three play basketball professionally. KhuVon plays on a professional team in New York, Isaiah and Phil just finished playing for Iskra Svit in Slovakia. All season long I stayed in contact with them and we were constantly challenging each other to be better.
Before we get to your current season, you didn’t come overseas until 2018. What did you do between 2016-2018?
In that time I was traveling with news release from July – August summer 2016. When i returned home I hired a trainer who became family during this whole time I didn’t get signed his name is Antwone Stanley. He helped me stay ready. So from August – January I worked as a overnight janitor and worked out during the days and early mornings with my trainer and sometimes with Tippy. In January2017 I went to Mexico to play in a professional tournament to get film with my friend Roman Perez. He just walked up to me while I was in the gym shooting after watching me for days and said ‘hey would you be interested in going to Mexico with me to get a chance at a professional career’ that day changed my life, he had given me plenty more opportunities after this day. He is now my brother. I came back home in February. Got a job working with kids at ‘Kids in The Game’ and continued to workout and play in tournaments from February – July. Then I went to Dominican Republic on a tour to try and get signed I didn’t get signed. I stayed with my friend Roman on his couch. In this house it was me Solomon who is a professional trainer now and former Glob Trotter. Vernon Goodridge who played for the warriors. All these guys were awesome and encouraging. It was great to learn from them, talk with them, and workout with them. I ended up not getting signed but learned a lot. I flew right to Mexico from there because I was talking to a few people and became connected. I stayed in Mexico from August until 2018February. Getting film and playing for money all across Mexico in underground tournaments. I then returned home because my dream wasn’t there and I didn’t see really enjoy the lifestyle it took for me to only get a taste of what I wanted. I worked out every single day with my good friend Iven, shooting and weight lifting no days off. But every gym we played in our tournament was outside or just had bad floors. It took a lot on my body. But it was important for me to be strong and ready for that type of basketball. The culture in Mexico is beautiful. But I went home not sure of what to do next but was satisfied with all the film I collected, experiences and new friendships. I started working for Nike events here and there while also working for Kids in the Game. I decided this time that if when I got home if I didn’t get a contract I would start to focus on my life. Getting an apartment in NY and put my drive toward working with making other people better. But I continued surfing social media to see where another opportunity might be. I found a few showcases and ended up being able to go to one in Las Vegas. This is when I met Drew Hanlen. I never was in front of someone in person who I considered a genius when it came to details of working out. This was a great experience especially against other top tier players with better resumes than me. I was very highly complemented on my game by the men running Pure Sweat in Las Vegas summer of 2018. But it wasn’t enough because I didn’t get any looks from any teams. I flew back to NY prepared to give it up and focus on working since it was almost late in July at this point. But then I got a phone call from Steve Sorensen of News Release Basketball. This man is the reason I am playing in Europe. He made it happen that I was on the plane to go to Europe to help with NRB camps. Without him doing that for me I would not be here with this Team. I flew to Europe originally to help kids in sports camps throughout Europe along with others and share my story of why I believe in GOD. It was always a great time and a lot of smiles from all the kids. I never seen myself as someone who gets attached pretty quickly but working with the kids, I proved myself wrong. All of this with Steve and NRB is how I played a practice game against ETV and got signed twos after.
Lets talk about your season with Eimsbuettler Hamburg. You finished your second season there helping the team in their first season to a 11th place and this season winning the Regionalliga North with a 19-1. How proud have you been with the rapid rise of this club that was only in the Regionalliga 2 two years ago and 4 years ago in the Oberliga.
I am overly excited that we have made so much progress in such a short time because it was all hard work from beginning to end, every practice and every game. It was exciting to be a part of though I have only been with the club for these last two years. From the coaches all the way to the fans and people who helped set up the home games, I hope they are feeling of the joy I feel because they are special to us and just as much a part of the wins. It also makes it fun to be apart of a team where guys are funny and we have a coach who wants to win just as bad as us, if not more. This quick success came from people making big sacrifices by taking on a heavy load of work for us to even have a season. I am happy we were able to go out there and win for the club. We worked to win so much that we ended up winning everything to move up; it really is a great feeling.
What is so amazing about this club is that despite the success, it is 3 guys that carry the team with you, Vidmantas Uzkuratis and Marcel Hoppe. Usually the title teams will have that undeniable balance, but you have done it with 3 guys and an array of strong role players. How much fun has success been this season?
Our success came from the way we practiced. It was so much fun to prepare for the different ways every team was going to guard us. But even more fun to go at these guys in practice. We were the main point contributors that is a fact but I do not want anyone to forget guys like Serg, Vladi, Leo and Kwame to name a few to get lost. Everyone was important on our team. So what made it really fun was watching my other teammates shine after seeing them work really hard throughout the season. Once this started to happen it made it easier to win because now other guys are showing teams that they are threats in other ways that help secure the win. Which brings me back to Vidmantas and Marcel having them both on the wings made us such a threat because they were like time bombs. For example, you never knew which one would blow up and lead us through an important run. Despite me being the leading scorer we relied on each other and held each other equally accountable for mistakes. I learned a lot from all of them but mostly from Vidmantas and Marcel. They are great players, great competitors, and great people.
How valuable has Uzkuratis been for the team and how has his experience and Lithuanian style helped your game mature at the European level?
Vidmantas is a very valuable piece to the team not only because of what he produces offensively but the way he is the leader and the veteran of our team. He is the first Lithuanian teammate I ever had but he showed me Lithuanians can hoop. He has a different leadership style than me but still gets guys to do what they need to. He has definitely helped me slow my game down, he taught me how to reserve energy during games and how to stay ready no matter if its not your night. Playing against him in practice always made me want to get better, I am glad I eared his respect in these two seasons because he definitely has mine.
How much of a pleasure has it been playing with German Marcel Hoppe? He has Pro B experience and had a solid NBBL career. Has it surprised you that he has remained with Eimsbuettel despite being a talented player that could play at a higher level? Is he more job orientated that he has to stay in the area? Sometimes job is more important to a player than basketball.
Having Marcel as a teammate has been great. He never was someone who talked a lot but his presence was always felt whenever he had to miss a practice due to exams or work. I was not surprised when Marcel told me about where he played before coming to Eimsbuttel. On the first day of practice I noticed how he picked his spots in the open run and the respect everyone was giving him. When he told me his basketball background it just all made sense it is just sad he was hurt. No it did not surprise me because it was close to his work, school, you do not necessarily need a car and its a beautiful city. The team makes it easier with how welcoming they are off the court, on the court you have to earn it and I think he liked that. He is a quiet person but a very competitive and disciplined person. It has to be true since he is also successful and smart off the court. He proved to me that you can make time for everything as long as you stay focused. He missed some practices because of his other responsibilities but quick story about how focused Mr Hoppe is. We had a big game Saturday night could’ve placed us differently in the standings had we lost and on the drive home Marcel is in the seat next to me with headphones in his ears and a flash light to his notebook. I tapped him and asked ‘what’s up what’re you reading?’ He responded ‘I am studying for a big exam Monday I only have one more day to study and I have to be ready.’ I nodded and let him continue. That should let you know how dedicated he was to everyone, the team, and his future. So if he continues to play or decide to stop to focus on work I think he will be making a good decision either way.
Talk a little about what is was like being teammates with 39 year old big man Thomas Trautwein. The guy finished his 21st professional career. What have you learned about German life from his this past season?
Thomas and I spoke a lot throughout the season even if it was just to ask how he is doing. He is a very intelligent person who works hard every time he is on the court. I asked him about his career the moment I got the chance to because I was sure he would’ve played somewhere I picture to be someday. He was very informing with how it was playing for different teams, honestly I was not expecting to ever hear about us getting a player like Thomas. I always automatically think someone who’s very tall with some skill will automatically be playing higher. But it was great to have him help us win games and me also being able to have conversations with him to learn from him as well. I have learned that German life is very strict, busy, and all about planning to stay ahead of your schedule. But then again the lifestyle in Germany is nearly the same as everywhere else. Everybody just trying to make it in a way that seems fit to them.
How big are the ambitions of the club for the future? I can imagine you will stay on board for a third season to continue the success in Eimsbuettel as well as continue to climb the basketball ladder for your game?
I can not speak for the entire club as far as the vision that they have for themselves but I do know it is a basketball club that wants to be organically grown. Any other specifics would have to be directed towards the club. Right now it is non-stop communication between me, my agent and my coach with ongoing discussions about the future.
Let’s talk about your game. You a 188cm guard that can fill the stat sheet with ease. Just from your stats you seem like a Russell Westbrook type of player. Who would you compare your game to an NBA player?
Thank you, that is a huge compliment. Russell Westbrook is a great player and one of my favorites to watch because he competes at a high level all the time. But I wouldn’t compare myself to one player; I have molded my game around many players. Pistol Pete’s ability to learn the game, Kobe’s work ethic towards the game, C.J. McCollum’s steady skill improvements and currently Trae Young’s range.
One ting that I noticed is that this past season you obviously scored many points each night, but also had double figures in rebounds and assists. Does it surprise you that you haven’t registered a triple double yet at the Regionalliga level? You were very very close as a rookie against Westerstede and Rendsburg
I have always been this type of player because growing up. I did everything else before I thought about scoring; it helped me get more playing time. So, for as long as I can remember, I have always crashed the boards and made the right basketball play in the half court or fast break, so I have always been more than just a scoring threat. Truthfully, I am always just out there having fun and never know if I am close to getting a triple-double or not since I am just trying to win. By the end of the game when I hear I am one short of a triple double in two categories, I admit it does suck. But I am more happy to have the win instead
What have been your most important goals as a player to accomplish so far with your game in the last two seasons? How do you feel have you grown as a player?
The most important goal I had for myself was becoming a better leader with my voice and not just leading by example. I really wanted to earn everyone’s respect enough so when I noticed something in the game, they would do it. This developed over time as I became more confident to lead when my chance came. It was a good feeling after practice or after a game when I am replaying those moments; it became important to me and to take the time to not be so hard on myself. I really feel like I have grown so much over these two seasons as a player and as a person. Challenging myself to see if I can become the man I envision by seeing that I follow through with the goals that will keep me on the right path. But as a player, I know I grew when it comes to being a leader, being vocal, setting the example, holding people accountable and knowing when and how to speak. It was situations that came up time and time again where I was able to witness my own growth. Even viewing the film from last season and comparing to this season I see I have become a bit more calm as a player. It makes me excited to see how I will continue to grow in the future.
What type of player is Tyseem Lyles in 2020 and what kind of player do you still want to become in the next years?
I am the type of player that wasn’t born ready, but didn’t give up. I am the type that is relentless, hardworking, energetic, and annoying on defense. I am the underdog constantly over looked, but not ever being outworked. In 2020, I am the same player as I have always been, focused. In the years to come I want to become smarter, sharper and calmer. All of this will come with experience and I know I will keep putting in the hours daily so I have no worries that I will reach the player I know I can be.
You didn’t know it at the time, but your 46 point explosion and career high against Achersleben would be your last game of the season as the Coronavirus hit. How big was this game and did you know you had so much at the end of the game?
This game was a very big game and a long drive to the gym. Teams were hoping one team would beat us to distort the rankings, or so it seemed. They were in third place and we were in first. We just knew we had to win, win and go home. This time was such a great time for me personally because around this time my grandmother had just got released from the hospital, that I was worried about for sometime, and my brother came to visit me. So it was a lot of good news around this time. Before the game all I was thinking about was making sure I had fun. Whenever it’s a big game in the past I have let my anxiety get the best of me and think myself into a hole. But I finally figured out what works for me to stay focused for big games and not let my anxiety win. A simple thing my coach from Tompkins Cortland Community College told me ‘You’re about to play the game you love, have fun young man.’ A lot of things coach Stevenson told me while coaching me at TC3 has stuck with me and continue to help me elevate my game. Coach Rich who is very motivating also played a part of the mentally I begun to understand. They both were dropping gems my entire time at TC3 the words they spoke to me then showed value to me in preparation for this big game. I didn’t know how much I had; the only thing I had on my mind was to stay focused and win. Coach Suekran took me out with just over a minute left in the fourth and then a thought my college coach told me came to my head. Coach Webb of Mercy College, during the summer of my college junior year had said, ‘The only difference between you and the pros is that you aren’t continuously relentless.’ So I always thought to myself I wasn’t ready until I was able to prove that. In my mind, I believed that I couldn’t be the player that I showed I am that game if I pass up good shots often or I am not as aggressive. Not to say that I have doubted myself this entire time, not believing I can do it, because I have done it but only on a non-professional level. So this game I proved to myself that I am already that, just in my own way.
You have a fascinating story. You are one of many Americans that pop up each season in the German regionalliga that began at the bottom and will not stop at anything to achieve their dreams not even at potholes. Talk a little about how the chip on your shoulder keeps you grinding and getting better and how you cope with your situation of where your playing on a daily basis?
Thank you. Shoutout to those dream chasers as well; it is always nice to hear about someone who didn’t quit that ends up making it. They all inspire me as well. Everything that I have been through in my life I have used to motivate myself in one way or another. I just want to be the best player that I can possibly be – that is what drives me. I used to look to all the rejections as fuel when I was in the gym and relate that to me wanting to be better. That got me this far, but it will not keep me going forever is what I had to realize. I thought about this because someone finally told me yes to my dreams and now that I have a chance, I had to let go of all that is negative, in order to have my complete focus on the now. So the only thing that keeps me going back to the gym daily/nightly is me and my desire to be better than myself yesterday. I look at my situation as a blessing; I am nowhere near ungrateful for this opportunity I was given. I have always wanted to say that when I am done playing basketball that I used every opportunity to get better, wherever or whomever I am playing for. I want to say I used every gym possible until I couldn’t do it anymore. I have made that promise to myself in college and haven’t looked back since because the work shows.
Your love of basketball came after your grandfather died at age 12. You told your mom you want to be a NBA player when you grow up. How much of reality do you have to remember to have when your only balling in the Regionalliga?
True. It is a constant reminder everyday but also I look at it as another opportunity to change my mother’s and my family’s lives for the better. I am sure it will take some more time but it is definitely still possible. I have not abandoned my dream of playing in the NBA; I just want to make sure I am ready when I decide to make that turn. Right now, I am focused on proving I can play with the best here in Germany in the years I have been here and am ready to work hard for that.
How much hope does a guy like Dallas native Curtis Hollis give you who was one of the top Americans in the Regionalliga west with Rhondorf this season who recently declared for the 2020 NBA draft?
Curtis motivates me a lot because he’s shown that he’s brave and that he’s ready to compete with the best. I wish him nothing but the best because when he gets signed, it will open the door for guys like me. I hope he continues to shine.
Before making the next step in the NCAA 2 at Mercy you had to pay your dues at Tompkins Cortland Community College (JUCO) That opportunity only happened after you couldn’t begin at Virginia Union University. You never gave up in this time. What did you learn about yourself then that you still have in your mind today when you face sudden adversary?
I remind myself that nothing can break me. At VUU, I worked extremely hard to barely make the practice team. During this time I let other people’s disbelief in me become my own disbelief in myself. Moving forward I was able to pull myself out of the place I was headed, feeling like a failure. It almost just felt like one day I woke up and stopped feeling sorry for myself because someone told me no one time. That’s when I got back in the gym and begun to teach myself and remind myself ‘nothing can break me.’
You then made the jump to Mercy College where you continued to make waves as a player. As a senior you played 28 games averaging 13.6ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.8apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 39.5%, 3PT: 30.1%, FT: 84.8%. How do you feel did you continue to develop as a player there?
My senior year I feel like I did not get better. I stayed in the gym just like the year before, but looking back, I think I was experiencing some mental blocks. Throughout the entire year I was having up and down games, I showed up when it counted and fell short other days. Once I left Mercy, that’s when I started to work with trainers to add more to my game. So I didn’t develop during the season but I definitely developed over that following summer. But to keep myself from going taking steps back I continued to sharpen the skills and fundamentals Coach Carroll from my school Tompkins Cortland Community College taught me.
You had any memorable games with Mercy College)NCAA2) but how will you always remember your last game beating District of Columbia 72-71 and pouring in 24 points?
That was a game to remember. We knew what we were trying to accomplish but during those moments it definitely did not seem achievable after all we were enduring throughout the year. This, nonetheless, was an unforgettable time.
How did head coach Joey King groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Jody did not groom me or prepare me for the next level but he did prepare me for the different type of people I would encounter on my journey. He had some assistant coaches who were really good who helped me elevate my game for the time period our paths crossed. I am thankful for the experience to play college ball at the Division 2 level on scholarship and meet so many different people. But the real people who helped elevate my game were Eric Fogle and Thomas ‘Tippy’ McTernan of Bedford Y and Antwone Stanley. These 3 people presented me with a mirror during different times of my life and pushed me a bit when I needed it most. Sometimes it was tough love, but it made me better.
Who won a one on one in practice back in the day you or Jeremiah Brown?
Jeremiah could definitely hoop; he was nice, but I do not recall us ever playing one-on-one but there were definitely days he would out preform me whenever we were able to guard each other in practice. He is someone I would have loved to see what basketball could have done for him.
Talk a little how blessed you are to have been able to live in one of Germany’s most beautiful places in Hamburg and play in one of the richest area’s in the city. How has it been experiencing day to day life. How have you remained grounded remembering you come from Brooklyn, New York?
It is easy to remember where I came from because I worked for it. I am able to experience this life without regret because I sacrificed my time and disciplined myself to get this far. I will forever walk around grateful because its something I am experiencing at the expense of my hard work. I know what it took to experience this much; I want more so I will continue to humble myself, and work even harder to see how far I can take it – doing so while being humble, grounded and authentic the whole way through.
Who was the toughest player that you ever battled that reached the NBA?
The recent most tough player that I played against who reached the NBA is Ivan Johnson. I played against him Summer of 2019 in the Dominican Republic during a professional tournament.
Please list your 5 best teammates of all-time?
This is my 5 best teammates in no order: Jeremiah Brown, Matthew Boyd, Roman Perez, Nicholas Johnson, and Vidmantas. It was really hard to pick my five best teammates but they should know its no love lost.
Please name your own personal NBA Mount Rushmore. Which 4 heads past or present would you pick?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, and Shaquille O’Neal.
Who is better Michael Jordan or Lebron James?
Michael Jordan. I respect Lebron James and I am not denying the fact he has accomplished a lot and is one of the goats but for this debate I am on Michael Jordan’s side.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Tyseem for the chat.